It was 10th time lucky for Ramin Hajiyev in the Triton Poker arena and it was well worth the wait – the Azerbaijani amateur scooping the Luxon Invitational for a monster $4,122,554 cash!
The former tennis pro-turned-entrepreneur was among 32 non-pros who invited an equal number of big-name pros to the special $200k buy-in Luxon Pay-sponsored invitational event.
Among the pros, a who’s who of highstakes crushers: Stephen Chidwick, Jason Koon, Ike Haxton, Justin Bonomo, Fedor Holz, Timothy Adams and Linus Loeliger to name but a few.
The amateur side of the draw included ACR boss Phil Nagy, the inimitable Antanas ‘Tony G’ Guoga, Talal ‘raidalot’ Shakerchi, and the only female in the field, investment banker Sosia Jiang.
As expected, the action came thick and fast, with Fedor Holz’s dreams crashing into a brutal flop...
...and Stephen Chidwick the unfortunate player to bust out on the $350,000 bubble...
Chidwick: K♥ J♥
Punsri: K♦ Q♠
Board: 2♥ 8♣ 7♣ A♥ 6♣
Of the 13 who cashed, only six were pros, the remaining seven from the amateur crew, a remarkable statistic, and even at the final table it had only redressed to 5:4 in favour of those who play for a living.
It took 3 hours for the first exit from the final table, England’s Ben Heath falling at the hands of Punnat Punsri’s big slick and that hand also accounted for Sosia Jiang, the Mongolian-born New Zealander out in 7th for $820,000.
Seven figure payouts were now the order of the day and Hajiyev’s luck was in when he binked the river to send Kiat Lee to the rail...
Patrik Antonius, a former tennis pro like his Azerbaijani tablemate, had laddered up a few times with his short stack, but eventually fell in 3rd at the hands of German pro Tobias Duthweiler...
Antonius: J♠ J♣
Duthweiler: A♥ 10♠
Board: 10♥ 2♦ 5♦ 4♠ 3♦
Heads-up for the title and close to $8million between them, Hajiyev and Duthweiler came to an agreement.
The online cash game pro, known as “dudd1”, was trailing 2:1 in chips but wasn’t impressed by the ICM numbers, until he received $40k as a sweetener to seal the deal, pocketing 3,606,446 to Hajiyev’s $3,992,554 with $140k left to play for.
There were some back-and-forth all-ins to follow, but it was a classic race that eventually decided the destination of the title and trophy...
Wai Kin Yong
*denotes heads-up deal
More than doubling his previous lifetime cashes, Hajiyev explained after his huge win: “If you’re going to brick nine events and then ship a tenth, it’d better be this one, right?”
He added: “I know that poker has a lot of variance, so I was just staying focused, motivated, because I love the game, obviously.”